Before visitation services were held on Monday for 43-year-old NYPD Officer Anastasio Tsakos, his body was taken by NYPD motorcade from Queens to Long Island.
Members of the NYPD led the procession, which was the first one since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Other first responders, including firefighters, stood along the route to pay tribute to Tsakos.
Tsakos was killed in the line of duty last week. He was struck by an alleged drunk driver while directing traffic following another unrelated crash along the Long Island Expressway that had taken place hours earlier.
Lt. John Pappas, commanding officer of the NYPD’s Transit K-9 Unit, knew the 14-year veteran from the time that Officer Tsakos joined the academy.
Pappas said when Tsakos was in training to become a member of the NYPD, Tsakos joined the NYPD’s St. Paul’s Society, a fraternal organization for officers of the Eastern Orthodox Christian Faith.
“He helped me personally. He helped other people, very quietly in the background. He wanted zero recognition for it. He just wanted to be there for his friends and family. And that’s why it’s such a potent loss,” said Lt. Pappas.
Tsakos was a member of the NYPD’s Highway Patrol unit, as a result a number of NYPD Highway officers participated in Monday’s procession which ended at St. Paraskevi Greek Orthodox Church in Suffolk County.
Pappas said that Officer Tsakos attended the church and lived in the area with his family.
On the way to the church, there was a silent tribute to Tsakos from the Long Island community he called home.
Blue ribbons were tied to trees lining the streets in front of a nearby high school, and his last name and shield number were emblazoned on a fence across the street.
Those who knew Tsakos personally still can’t believe he’s gone.
“He was a good guy. He didn’t deserve this. Nobody deserves this, but especially him,” said John Mastoras, who said he was a family friend and knew Tsakos for 16 years. “He left behind two kids, a 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.”
Visitation for Tsakos was held over a seven-hour period in order to allow as many people who wanted to attend to come amid current COVID-19 restrictions.
With religious gatherings still limited to 50% capacity, there were times that guests had to wait outside before being allowed into the church.
Hundreds of family, friends and members of the NYPD came to the church to pay their respects, but only a few spoke publicly about their relationship with Tsakos.
Pastor John Boyd traveled from Queens Village for the visitation.
He said that he met Tsakos several times through the Adopt a Precinct program run by his congregation, New Bethel Ministries.
“Very nice gentleman,” Boyd said. “Really, when I first met him, was his smile. First time we ever did this, they were saying, ‘Who is this for? Why are you doing this?’ And we were just saying, ‘We’re doing this to let you know we care about the officers in our community.'”
Following Tuesday’s funeral service, which will also be held at St. Paraskevi Greek Orthodox Church, Tsakos will be laid to rest at a cemetery about two miles away.